Despite 75 walks and 14 hit batters in 96 innings in Triple-A this year, Andrew Brackman was promoted to the majors by the Yankees on Tuesday.
Brackman, a 2007 first-round pick rated by Baseball America as the game’s No. 78 prospect entering this season, did manage to turn his season around late. He had a 7/20 K/BB ratio in 15 1/3 innings in July, but he came through with a 17/3 mark and a 1.56 ERA in 17 1/3 innings out of the pen last month.
Brackman was first tried as a reliever back in June, and he was moved exclusively to the pen after walking nine in 3 1/3 innings in his final start on July 29. The 6-foot-10 right-hander seems destined to stay there now, and he has the stuff to be a dominant short reliever if things break right.
Fortunately, Brackman, who got a major league contract out of N.C. State, is likely to be awarded an extra option year next season after missing all of 2008 following Tommy John surgery. Otherwise, the Yankees would have been forced to carry him as a reliever next April or try to send him through waivers. He’s not ready for prime time just yet, but no one is giving up on him.
The Yankees appear to have moved on from free agent Manny Machado this winter, but could they be turning their attention to Rockies superstar Nolan Arenado? That’s the idea floated by Andy Martino of SNY, who hears that GM Brian Cashman has been involved in recent discussions concerning the third baseman. No official comments have been made to the press yet, though, and it’s not clear whether the Yankees would prefer to pursue Arenado prior to the 2019 season or partway through it.
The 27-year-old infielder earned his fourth consecutive All-Star nomination, Silver Slugger, and Gold Glove award in 2018 after slashing .297/.374/.561 with 38 home runs, a .935 OPS, and 5.7 fWAR across 673 plate appearances. There’s no question he’s provided immense value to Colorado’s lineup over the last half-decade, and his consistency and incredible power at the plate helped form the basis of the record $30 million arbitration figure he presented to the team last week. The Rockies countered at $24 million, however, and in doing so may have jeopardized their chances of convincing the infielder to forego free agency in 2020 and take a long-term deal instead.
Assuming he declines to negotiate an extension with the Rockies, Arenado’s decorated résumé and career-best 2018 numbers should attract plenty of interest around the league — a reality that could put considerable pressure on the Yankees (or any other interested party) to finesse a deal sooner rather than later. For now, the club is prepared to enter the 2019 season with hot-hitting third baseman Miguel Andújar, whom Martino speculates would be the “centerpiece” of any trade with Colorado.